WILLIAMS completes Barrett merger

Friday, August 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Williams Cos.' plans to boost electricity production are getting a jump-start with its completed buyout of Denver-based Barrett Resources Corp.

The $2.5 billion acquisition nearly triples Williams' natural gas reserves. Shareholders of Barrett, a gas exploration and production company, approved the deal Thursday.

Tulsa-based Williams is looking to boost its production of electricity from 15,000 megawatts to 25,000 megawatts by the end of 2002, said Keith Bailey, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

With Barrett's gas reserves, Williams has a dependable supply of natural gas to power its electricity production, he said.

``It adds to the credibility and the quality of our service offerings as we pursue power opportunities,'' Bailey said. ``If the markets get tight, we have the ability to divert physical molecules into the mix to be able to meet our obligations. That has been a strong selling point.''

The deal, which was announced in May, required Williams to pay $73 per share for 50 percent of Barrett's outstanding stock as well as 1.767 shares of Williams common stock for each remaining share. Williams also assumed $300 million in Barrett debt.

Barrett will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams.

Williams said it will cut 62 jobs from the accounting and sales department at Barrett's headquarters in Denver. Barrett employs at total of 250 people.

Barrett's producing properties are in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma and in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas and Louisiana.

The Rocky Mountain region is ``clearly the basin with the greatest untapped potential,'' said Joe Jaggers, vice president of Williams' Rocky Mountain operations.

Barrett increased gas production by 14 percent in 2000. The company spent $291 million on acquisitions and drilling projects that same year.